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Why some States in India have Bicameral Legislatures ?

Posted by Admin on September 5, 2014 | Comment

Why some States in India have Bicameral Legislatures ? 3.97/5 (79.39%) 66 votes

Like Union legislature, some of the states of India follow a bicameral system wherein the legislature is divided into two separate houses. A bicameral legislature comprises a lower house and an upper house. While the former is known as the Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha), the latter is called the Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad).

Why some States in India have Bicameral Legislatures

From as early as the first half of 20th century to as latest as 2014, adoption of bicameral legislatures has been influenced by a handful of factors including bifurcation of existing states and formation of new ones.

Why Some States in India Have Bicameral Legislatures?

The Constitution of India had the provision of establishing bicameral legislatures in more populous states of the country. Initially states such as Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab etc. were slated to have two houses. However, some of the states felt that Legislative Council would be an “unnecessary adjunct. “

The Constitution grants every state the right to create or abolish Legislative Council, which decides whether it will have a unicameral or bicameral legislature. According to Article 169 of the Indian Constitution, the state legislative assembly has to pass a resolution demanding creation or abolition of the council. The Parliament can then make it a law by passing it like any ordinary bill. It doesn’t require any amendment to the Constitution.

Bicameral Legislatures in India and their Composition

Bicameral legislatures replicate the model followed in Indian Parliament. The lower house wields greater legislative power as compared to the upper house. In a bicameral set up, a motion of no confidence against the state government can only be introduced in the Vidhan Sabha. Once passed by the majority, the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers are bound to resign. Similarly, a money bill can only be introduced in Vidhan Sabha. Like Rajya Sabha, the upper house in the state can’t sit on any legislation passed by the lower house. It has to approve the bill after 14 days.

Except Jammu and Kashmir, upper house of every state must have more than 40 seats but not more than 1/3rd of the total size of the lower house.

Legislative Assembly of every state is formed for a five-year term. Its members are directly elected from the people representing different constituencies within the state. The Indian Constitution limits the maximum size of legislative assembly to 500 members. Legislative Council is a permanent body whose members are chosen from members of local bodies such as corporations, municipalities, and district councils. One-third of the members are the Legislative Assembly members. One-sixth of the members are nominated by the governor from among those having substantial knowledge or practical experience in the field of arts, literature, science, social service, etc. Rest of the upper house members are chosen from graduates and teachers associated with academic institutions.

Andhra Pradesh Legislature

Andhra Pradesh Legislature was unicameral till the legislative council was formed in 1958. The state continued to have bicameral legislature till 1 June 1985 following which the Council was abolished. The state legislature returned to its unicameral status and remained so until March 2007 when the Legislative Council was re-established. Presently, the lower house and upper house of the legislature have 175 and 56 members respectively.

Bihar Legislature

Long before Bihar attained its statehood (in 1936), the state’s unicameral legislature was converted into bicameral one under the Government of India Act, 1919. The first Legislative Assembly after gaining statehood came into existence in 1937. The Assembly had a strength of 152 members. The number of members of the Bihar Legislative Assembly was raised to 324 in 1977. Following the bifurcation of Bihar and creation of Jharkhand, the strength of the lower house was reduced to 243 members by passing the Bihar Reorganisation Act, 2000. Under the same Act, the strength of the legislative council was reduced from 96 to 75 members.

Jammu & Kashmir Legislature

While the first legislature of Jammu and Kashmir was formed in 1934, the bicameral system was established in 1957 as per the Legislative Councils Act. The new constitution was adopted by the constituent assembly. Currently, the Legislative Council of Kashmir is composed of 36 seats. The lower house of the state has 87 members.

Karnataka Legislature

Karnataka is divided into 225 Assembly constituencies and presently the state Legislative Assembly has 224 members. In 1986, a resolution was passed in the Legislative Assembly and approved by the Indian Parliament, which increased the strength of the Legislative Council to 75.

Maharashtra Legislature

Maharashtra is one of the oldest states to have bicameral legislature. The present strength of the upper house is 78. Presently, the lower house of the state consists of 288 members, directly elected from the constituencies. The budget session and the monsoon session of the Legislative Assembly and Council are convened in Mumbai, while the winter sessions are convened in Nagpur.

Telangana Legislature

Telangana is the latest addition in the list of states having bicameral legislatures. The lower house of this newly formed state has 119 members. Currently, the upper house consists of 40 members.

Uttar Pradesh Legislature

Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly has a total of 404 members including one Anglo-Indian member nominated by the Governor. The strength of the lower house was 431 members till 1967. Following the recommendation of the Delimitation Commission, the strength was revised to 426. Moreover, the reorganization of the state in 2000 further lowered the strength of the Legislative Assembly to 404. The reorganization also led to the reduction of members of Legislative Council from 108 to 100.


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